Search This Blog

July 31, 2009

Be My Hero... to Animals!

If you volunteer at a local animal shelter, now your help can make a greater impact... 

"When you pledge to volunteer at one of the 7,500-plus shelters in the database, Purina ONE will donate $5 to participating shelters in the One Hope Network, up to $500,000."

To make your pledge, visit

July 29, 2009

Recipes | Farmers Market Recipe Cards

Recipes | Eggplant Parmesan

I prepared this Eggplant Parmesan at my Farmers Market Workshop and Cooking Class at A Thyme for Everything.  To see all of the photos and recipes, click here!  Photos are courtesy of Andrew Doak.

Eggplant Parmesan

3 eggplants, sliced

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 extra-large eggs

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 cups dry bread crumbs

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving

Unsalted butter

Good olive oil

Coat the eggplant in flour, then dip into an egg, then into bread crumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.  Heat butter and olive oil in a large saute pan and cook eggplant for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until cooked through. 

Download the recipe card here.

Recipes | Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce | Farmers Market

I prepared this Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce at my Farmers Market Workshop and Cooking Class at A Thyme for Everything.  To see all of the photos and recipes, click here!  Photos are courtesy of Andrew Doak.

Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce

olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

4 large tomatoes

1 cup of cherry tomatoes

10 fresh basil leaves

1 tablespoon of sugar

1 tablespoon of salt

Put half of the large tomatoes and all of the basil in a food processor.  Pulse just until thickly chopped.  Seperately dice remaining half of tomatoes and slice cherry tomatoes in half.   In a sauce pan, saute garlic in olive oil, then add diced tomatoes and the tomato and basil mixture.  Add sugar and salt.  Cook for at least 10 minutes.

Here I've topped my Eggplant Parmesan recipe with the fresh tomato and basil sauce.

Recipes | Garden Dressing

I prepared this creamy and tangy salad dressing at my Farmers Market Workshop and Cooking Class at A Thyme for Everything.  To see all of the photos and recipes, click here!  Photos are courtesy of Andrew Doak.

Garden Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup green onions

1 cup fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons garlic

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup sour cream

3 heads Bibb lettuce

Place the mayonnaise, scallions, basil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a 

blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the sour cream and process just until blended.

I serve the salad dressing on buttery bibb lettuce with fresh tomatoes.

Workshops | Farmers Market Class

Last night's cooking class at A Thyme For Everything was extraordinary - the produce provided by Fahrmeier Farms was unbelievable, the class attendees were enthusiastic and curious, and the recipes were simple and delicious.  

As an avid fan of great photography, I was so thrilled to have photographer Andrew Doak and his wife, Kara, as attendees of the class.   Andrew had his camera and shot the class step-by-step.  He was so generous to share the photos with us.  Thanks, Andrew.  You can find out more about Andrew and his work on his website,

At each place setting, I placed a 'pocket folded' napkin with the Farmers Market Recipe Cards that I created, then accented it with a sprig of fresh basil.  To download the recipe cards, click here.  For more photos of all three of the different table settings, click here!

Fahrmeier Farms (my cousins' produce farm located in Lexington, Mo.) provided a farmers market stand right in the store.  I cooked straight from the bushel baskets and the class attendees were able to shop from it as well.

My Homemade Pickles.  For the recipe, click here!

Beautiful Tomato.  See how much flesh?!

Look at the beautiful heirloom tomatoes!

Here I am preparing the Panzanella, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, bell peppers, fresh basil, homemade croutons and champagne dijon vinaigrette.  For the complete recipe, click here.

Panzanella.  So fresh!

Now, I'm making the Garden Dressing for the bibb lettuce salad.  Fresh basil, green onions, garlic, sour cream, mayonnaise, fresh squeezed lemon juice, salt & pepper. 

I served the creamy Garden Dressing atop buttery Boston Bibb Lettuce with heirloom tomatoes (of course!).

I'm putting the food processor to work again as I make the fresh Tomato Basil Sauce.  I pulsed together heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil, then cooked it in olive oil and garlic.  I added a little sea salt and sugar.  It cooked for 10-15 minutes.  So simple, and so delicious.  Complete recipe for Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce is here. 

I breaded and fried sliced eggplant.   The breading is a mixture of parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.  The complete recipe for Eggplant Parmesan is here.  I topped each piece of eggplant with a slice of fresh mozzarella, then topped it with the Fresh Tomato Basil Sauce. 

Dessert was fresh peaches, blueberries and blackberries served over a simple vanilla cream sauce.  

The vanilla sauce was made by boiling cream for 10 minutes, then adding some sugar and the seeds from a vanilla bean.

Thanks again to Andrew Doak for sharing his photos with us!  Visit his site and twitter feed,

July 27, 2009

Entertaining | Farmers Market Dinner Party

For my Farmer's Market class (tomorrow at a Thyme For Everything) I designed a table setting that showcased the class's star - fresh, juicy, heirloom tomatoes.  Not only is it pretty to look at, it is inexpensive, too.  

Cherry Tomatoes in Antique Tins  |  Heirloom Tomatoes stacked on a white cake plate from Nell Hill's  |  White Table Runner 

Brown Ticking Stripe Napkins : Pottery Barn  |  Menu Card : designed by me, Jenny Steffens, with basil accent

The recipes and photos of the menu items are coming soon!

July 23, 2009

Everyday : Recipes : Simple Homemade Pickles

For my Farmers Market workshop next Tuesday (more info here!), I've promised to demonstrate how to make homemade pickles... so, I made the first batch this morning so we're able to taste them during the workshop.

I've been recently intrigued by pickles because of my love of Blanc Burger's fabulous pickles...  they are sweet, but not to sweet, and tangy.  My goal with this recipe is to create a similar pickle.

Jenny's Homemade Pickles

10 small cucumbers, cut into quarters
3 cups of vinegar 
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of sea salt
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons of dry mustard
1/3 cup of peppercorns
4 cloves of garlic, sliced in half
1 bunch of dill, divided into 4

Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper flakes and mustard into a saucepan and bring to a slight boil to dissolve the sugar and salt.  Remove from heat.  

In 4 jars, place 2 garlic halves, a couple sprigs of dill, 1 tablespoon of peppercorns and one quarter of the cucumbers.  Pour vinegar mixture into each jar to the brim.  Fasten the lids on the jar and refrigerate for 2 days before eating.  The pickles will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks!

July 22, 2009

Everyday : Recipes : Baked Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes, Chicken & Basil

This pasta is loosely based on the classic combination of tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil.  I added roasted chicken, pancetta and baby portabella mushrooms to give it some hearty flavors making it entree worthy.  Baking the pasta with the sauce and cheese makes it gooey and delicious - like mac and cheese 'with the volume turned up' - as the Barefoot Contessa would say.  I love fixing pasta for dinner (as you may have noticed), so the way I keep it healthy is to make sure I have 2/3 vegetables and proteins, and only 1/3 pasta.  This recipe feeds 4-6!

Roasted Tomato, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Pasta... with some other things, too.

1 pound of tube pasta (rigatoni, penne, etc.), cooked
1 pound of chicken
2 cups of tomatoes (plum, grape or cherry), cut in half
2 cups of mushrooms (baby portabellas work great), sliced
1/3 pound of pancetta (or bacon), diced
8 ounces of fresh mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup of fresh basil, julienned 
3 tablespoons of butter
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons of flour
1 cup of milk
salt & pepper

On a sheet pan, place chicken, tomatoes and mushrooms (be sure to keep the chicken separate from the vegetables), and drizzle with olive oil then salt & pepper.  Roast at 425 for 20 minutes, or until chicken is done.  When chicken has slightly cooled (about 5 minutes) cut into chunks.

In a sauce pan, cook bacon on medium high until slightly crispy.  Remove and drain on a paper towel.  Wipe out pan to remove fat, then add butter and melt over medium low heat, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Stir in flour and stir for 1 minute until smooth and slightly browned in color - slightly, don't burn!  Whisk in milk and stir for 2-3 minutes, lower heat.  Congrats - you just made a white sauce.  

In a large bowl, place cooked pasta (should still be hot from the boiling), chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, mozzarella and basil.  Pour white sauce over the mixture and stir.  Place in a casserole dish, or individual crocks.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  

July 20, 2009

Entertaining : Cookie Cake

How great is this pan from Williams-Sonoma?  It would be so delicious filled with ice cream.  Perfect for a child's birthday party.   And, this is one of those things that would be impossible to mess up.  No decorating, no frosting... so simple.  Find it here!  

July 16, 2009

Eddie Ross Workshop in Kansas City at Creative Candles

Today I attended the highly anticipated workshop with Eddie Ross at Creative Candles, right here in Kansas City.   Here I am with Eddie and the arrangement I made... from his inspiration.

The arrangement was in classic Eddie style - fresh, seasonal and simple.   White garden hydrangeas, white hypericum berries, and limes.  The outside of the vase is filled with solar salt.  It has the look of chic style of sea salt, but is actually the same salt you'll find on winter sidewalks.  That's right, you can get an entire bag for about $4.  He has some great ideas about using the salt for a wedding - using it as a table runner with simple white arrangements.  

Here is his inspiration table setting using the fabulous tapers from our host, Creative Candles.  He mixed various styles, ages and textures to create this setting with great depth and personality.  I really love the milk glass goblets... my Grandma has the an amazing milk glass collection.   Look for more on Creative Candles in my next post!

Here I am with Stacey Downs (of The KC Star's House & Home) while we begin our arrangements.  

Eddie is planning to come back over the Holidays to do another class... I can't wait!

July 15, 2009

Everyday : Recipes : Shrimp, Peas, Lemon & Cherry Tomato Pasta

Tonight's dinner was fantastic.  Fresh ingredients, light sauce, and flavorful - a great summer recipe.   And, it took me about 10 minutes!

Shrimp, Peas, Lemon & Cherry Tomato Pasta (for 4)

1 pound of pasta 
1 pound of shrimp, butterflied
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of peas
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of fresh basil, julienned 
2 cups of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 lemon
1/4 cup of heavy cream
3 tablespoons of butter
1/3 cup of parmesan, grated

Boil the pasta in salted water.   In a skillet, saute shrimp in olive oil for 2 minutes.  Add the peas and garlic, saute for 2 more minutes.  Turn heat on low, add 1/3 cup of water from boiling pasta (this gives the sauce some starch to slightly thicken it), butter and cream.  Cook for 2 minutes until butter is melted.  Remove from heat.  Add tomatoes and basil.  Drain the pasta and toss with the shrimp and sauce mixture.   Add parmesan cheese and toss.

Table Setting : Eddie Ross

I love this table setting by Eddie Ross (who will be doing a workshop in Kansas City this week!).  He gives great DIY tips in his blog... he pulled these flowers from his backyard and got the plates at a flea market.  What a great setting for a Bridal Shower luncheon... don't you think?

July 14, 2009

New Blog Announcement... It is official!

Jenny Steffens, creator of, brings you a new website devoted to the glories of entertaining, recipes, weddings and everyday occasions.  Visit the site's blog to see Jenny's daily entries and tips.  

Look for this ad in The Independent!

July 13, 2009

Everyday : Recipes : Kona Cabbage Salad & Pineapple Chili Glazed Grilled Chicken

Tonight I was in the mood for something light for dinner... too many "Summer Comfort" dishes lately.  So, I recreated my favorite salad from Kona Grill.

1 head of Napa Cabbage, chopped
1/2 head of Red Cabbage, chopped
5 green onions, sliced
1 package of Ramen Noodles
3 tablespoons of butter
2/3 cup of olive oil
1/3 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of red wine vinegar 
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 pound of chicken breasts
Sweet Pineapple Chili Grilling Sauce (most grocery stores)

Combine cabbages and green onions.   Crumble up ramen noodles into melted butter in a saute pan.  Saute lightly, then add them to the cabbage mixture.  For the dressing, whisk together oil, sugar, vinegar, garlic and soy.  Pour over the salad and toss.

Brush the chicken with grilling sauce.  Grill for 4 minutes on each side.  

Home : Inspiration

As we begin to think about other improvements, I continue to collect inspiration photos and clippings...  The houses are from an area in Kansas City called Mission Farms.  I love the cottage look that the shake roof, white trim, and stone accents give to the homes.  I would like to paint the exterior of our house similarly to these two below.   I'm thinking that by just painting the trim of our home with a soft white, we could brighten the exterior.  

I found this antique store in Georgetown during our trip to DC last Winter.  I just loved everything in this store - it was so cozy and casual, yet clean and sophisticated.  

I plan to have all of our furniture done in natural linen and a soft leather.  Very simple.

This was the Lorien Hotel & Spa in Old Town Alexandria, VA where we had massages.  I love how all of the books have covers.   I would like to have two wing back chairs similar to these made for our family room.

This entry way inspired my grey walls.  I love the soft, clean feeling of this room.
Copyright @ Jenny Steffens Hobick. Blog Design by KotrynaBassDesign